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Saturday, September 25, 2021

Decoding Meghan and Harry’s Hollywood ‘power look’

I’m not talking about the kind of wealth that might afford someone to buy a Chanel handbag or Bottega Veneta shoes, but the next level up: the power player that doesn’t need to telegraph their net worth. It’s ‘stealth wealth’, which demands impeccably sourced fabrics, a flawless cut and absolutely no logos whatsoever. 

Phoebe Philo-era Céline, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen’s label The Row, Brunello Cucinelli and Gabriela Hearst are the kinds of labels that excel in this kind of understated luxury. In fact, their very logo-less-ness is part of their appeal.

There’s a lot we can learn from the fact that they were styled for the shoot by costume designers Clare and Nina Hallworth, best known for their work with Jennifer Aniston. The sisters are masters of this aesthetic, and were responsible for dressing Aniston for her Apple TV+ series The Morning Show.

In an interview about Aniston’s wardrobe for the show last year, Nina Hallworth told me: “We worked with Valextra [on handbags] exclusively because of its designs, as a statement of minimalist luxury, no bells, whistles, tags or logos. They are elegant, colour-blocked, hardy and functional. 

We also relied on Dior’s signature jackets, as they are beautifully proportioned and feminine in a nostalgic way, yet the shape projects strength with exaggerated lapels and complex materials. Phoebe Philo’s double-faced cashmere coats from her last year at Céline are her anchors.”

These are qualities that one imagines Meghan might appreciate in the clothes she wears, and clothes that may well suit her new Montecito life. The pleat-fronted, wide-legged trousers are also a stark contrast with the polite midi skirts and dresses she wore back in the UK as a working royal.

But stealth wealth isn’t just about looking rich. It’s a power move too, and that tells us something about Meghan and Harry’s ambitions. Just look at the way Shiv Roy is styled in the second series of HBO hit Succession

The character, an ambitious woman born into extreme wealth, wears Gabriela Hearst’s open-back cashmere roll-neck midi dress when stepping-up her style game (she also wears Giorgio Armani and Ralph Lauren) as she plots to succeed her father as CEO of Waystar Royco.

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